Probably the last, formally posted, Moles ride of 2011 was billed as a ‘Knackered Old Farts/Whingeing Old Gits’ ride, or KOFWOG for short. Naturally, I felt compelled to lead it as a founder member of this particular Mole sub-species.
Joining me were Kev, Karl, DaveC and Lloyd who were all recovering from various forms of ‘man flu’; along with BigAl who was just recovering from Christmas. Karl was enjoying full-suspension for the first time, having borrowed Dave’s Orange 5. Lloyd was the only rider on a hardtail, his Ti On-One. Hmmm.
We set off fairly promptly at a little after 9am, and headed up the main bridlepath to Pitch Hill. Turning right well before the trig point, our first downhill section (as you can guess, I have no idea if it has a name) started with the gentle jumps that we occasionally have a little play on, before morphing into some very rooty and steppy sections that were a bit of a handful in the slippery conditions. Perhaps I could have found a more gentle start to the day. We all got down in one piece, though I got horribly sideways a couple of times.
There was not too much mud about, but the recently increased rainfall has made everything pretty darn slippy, and I was glad I had the Maxxis SwampThing on the back of the Pace 506. We headed back up the hill, this time heading left for Holy Roller, then continuing across the bridlepath and past the big doubles (not attempted today,err … too slippy) for Al to show us the new jump/drop that was too big for us Kofwogs (even though Al was riding his ‘cool white’ Ibis Mojo).
Back up the hill again for T1, 2 & 2.5, by way of the little drop and doubles towards the end of Holy Roller. Nice effort, Karl. Naturally, T2.5 brought us to ‘Dave’s Fave’, Death Star. This time I headed off last, which gave me a great view of Kev (Trek) and Lloyd sliding off on the roots as you exit towards the left. I wished I’d continued on my normal ‘head on’ line, as having stopped to laugh at the carnage, I then proceeded to copy them by sliding off on exactly the same roots. It was due to a lack of momentum, honest.
Hot drinks and cakes were next on the agenda, with BigAl showing us how he earned his nickname by having two Cheese Straws. We then took the uphill by the church, to get the worst of the climbing over with early, before heading on to the trig point. BigAl reckons the the first trail on the left is called ‘Eric’ on Strava. I set off, but Dave kept close to my back wheel for most of the way down on his full-sus Salsa 29er, before getting stuck in the mud in the dip towards the end. Judging by the gap between Dave and the third one down, there was further carnage back up the trail that I didn’t witness.
We took the road up from the Windmill Bar & Restaurant, before heading up the bridlepath and on towards the windmill itself. As you can see, we stopped for a group pose. Two Headed Dog was where it all went horribly wrong for Lloyd. We’re not sure of exactly what happened, but we think the end of his bars may have clipped ‘Matt’s Tree’. The result was that he landed very heavily on his left shoulder and dislocated it. Being the Macho Mole he is, he popped it back in (he’s had plenty of practice as it’s an old rugby injury).
At this point we decided it was best to head back down on the road to the Hurtwood Inn. Karl and I couldn’t resist the steep little drop that goes from the top of Walking Bottom into the western side of the car park. BigAl and Dave hurriedly rushed away as they’d seen enough carnage for the day.
While Lloyd was self-administering some liquid anaesthetic in the Hurtwood Inn, the rest of us went up to the reservoir for a run down BKB. Dave took a flying start from the reservoir to make sure that his Strava time beat JR’s (sadly it didn’t, despite his ‘coming in hot’ approach). I tried my best to stick fairly close to his wheel, but I confess he pulled out a few seconds on me.
We joined Lloyd in the bar for some post-ride rehydration, which rounded off a fun (for most) and certainly an eventful ride. Roll on 2012, let’s hope the Kofwogs die a natural death (err, hang on, I don’t mean that) … let’s hope the Kofwog rides peter out as we all regain those supreme fitness levels that the Moles are renowned for (is what I was trying to say).
Finally, in his own words, Lloyd says:
“This was supposed to be a light recuperation ride – now I am in need of recuperation. I am feeling like s… at the moment and riding the sofa hard (only riding I will be doing for a while) . I thought titanium was supposed to have a little flex – I can vouch that against shins it is as hard as a very hard thing. I have a half tennis ball lump on one shin and the other is about twice its normal size. Shoulder not good. See you on the trails in about a month.”
Get well, soon, Lloyd (though can I borrow your Santa Cruz Tall Boy if you’re not using it?)